KRIS DREVER


Artist


FOLK

Kris Drever's voice and guitar forms part of the backbone of today's contemporary roots scene. Widely admired as a solo artist, collaborator, and member of folk superstars Lau, he is a phenomenal and prolific artist. 

Becoming 'Best Newcomer' at the 2007 BBC Radio Two Folk Awards was a beginning of sorts for the Orcadian singer/songwriter, however, his journey was already far from it's musical origins: growing up on Orkney brought it's own inspirations, but somewhat inevitably, it was his father, Ivan Drever, of folk-rockers Wolfstone, who first sparked Kris's imagination - just like Dad, he turned to the guitar to power his melodies, and found himself involved in jam sessions far and wide.

Heading for the mainland at seventeen, Kris gravitated towards Edinburgh and discovered like-minded souls aplenty at The Tron Ceilidh House, where he was to perform regularly, and Sandy Bell's, the city's famous folk pub - the latter of these locations was to give birth to the trio, Fine Friday - adopting the name due to the  popularity of their Friday night sessions, Kris, Anna-Wendy Stevenson (fiddle) and Nuala Kennedy (flute) went on to record two well-received albums and tour extensively.

Further collaborations and friendships blossomed, leading to him co-founding a musicians' collective, Session A9, and finding himself to be in demand, playing alongside Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart, Irish accordionist Leo McCann and with, Gaelic band, Tannas.

It was around this time that John McCusker, the revered fiddle player and producer, hand picked Kris for stage and studio work with the multi-award winning Kate Rusby. A coup, and a steep learning curve for any maturing artist, many will remember Kris's version of 'Farewell To Fuinary' at Kate's concerts.

With plenty of serious networking under his belt, he was able to enlist a healthy amount of A-listers to his own 'Black Water' sessions: Eddi Reader, Andy Seward, Donald Shaw, Kate Rusby, Andy Cutting and Roddy Woomble (of Idlewild fame) answered the call. Eschewing any familiar formula, tracks as seasoned as 'Patrick Spence' sounded re-energised alongside a swathe of modern material, such as, cult hero Sandy Wright's 'Steel & Stone' and Boo Hewerdine's 'Harvest Gypsies'. Now selling in excess of 10,000 copies, in the UK alone, this debut is a touchstone for budding artists, and heralded the start of a hectic spell for Drever.

Next, he was to find another perfect vehicle for his individualistic cross-genre guitar style and expressive singing in Lau. This collaboration with Aidan O'Rourke (fiddle) and Martin Green (accordion), which had been brewing for several years, finally released their debut, 'Lightweights & Gentlemen', in 2007 - musically progressive and highly addictive it left critics searching for a suitable string of superlatives. And this trio were only just getting started! They went on to score a triple hit of 'Best Group' crowns at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards over the coming consecutive years, whilst releasing more celebrated albums - most notably, 'Arc Light', a powerful set which contained Kris's stunning original, 'Winter Moon'.
 
Now juggling a number of plates, he added yet another project to his list, which grouped him with a familiar pair: Drever McCusker Woomble made a foray into the studio to produce a self titled album that was lauded by the press for its invigorating originality. It became MOJO Magazine’s ‘Best Folk Album’ for 2008 and set them on the path to a feature on BBC2's 'Culture Show'.

Kris assembled a full band line-up for a triumphant 'Black Water' concert which was captured for release on DVD (‘Kris Drever Live') before busy tour schedules took over with Drever McCusker Woomble, Lau (Scots Trad Music Award for ‘Best Live Act’) and Heidi Talbot, with whom he had recorded a duet, 'The Blackest Crow',  for her 'In Love & Light' album.

2010 saw sufficient breathing space for his second solo release, 'Mark The Hard Earth'. In a fresh move this enigmatic work added legendary American roots musician Tim O’Brien to some of his regulars. The combination sparkled on material from favourites (Wright & Hewerdine) to traditional (Burns) and unearthed treasures - Caleb Klauder's 'This Old Song' and Murray Attaway's 'Allegory'. The title track was left to Drever's own pen, displaying more emotionally articulate writing in an eulogy to the weather: 'me I like rain on a grey afternoon, the sounds on my window they brighten the gloom‘.

Recent gigs with Tim and the multi-instrumentalist, Anna Massie, have been outstanding, whilst looking ahead, there doesn't appear to be any let up in Drever's creative vision with Lau producing a series of collaborative EP's. He also aims to record a follow up to a recent virtuosic album which coupled him with, Scottish banjo player, Eammon Coyne. Alongside a packed tour schedule, it appears he'll remain a lynchpin to this generation of musical artists for years to come.

 

AUDIO

Uploaded by KRIS DREVER
Kris Drever by Westbury Music